Welcome to my genealogy blog. Ancestors I Wish I Knew is a combination of genealogical information and stories about individuals in my family tree. The focus is on those from my Cochrane, Eitelbach, Merrett, Minarcik and Richards lines and their descendants.

Monday, October 28, 2019

#203--Trick or Treat

Every year I go to Halloween Nights at the Greenfield  Village.  It is a treat to be there and enjoy all the scenes and displays.  Some are tricks, but others are treats.  Volunteers carve 1000 pumpkins and they are placed along the sidewalks and visitors follow the path.with the pumpkins lighting the way.

First we have a some coffins.

 and a graveyard to put them in.

Now for the witches.

 Witch Hazel will rent you a broom.

 Or a spell

Here are some spooky night creatures
Scary Scarecrow


Very Scary

Thomas Edison got a costume

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

#202--Driving the REO

I found this picture among my mother’s things.  What a wonderful scene of a family going for a Sunday afternoon ride.  I could identify my grandfather, Walter Eitelbach,  driving, my grandmother, Regina, in the back seat and my mother, Marie,  peaking out the side.  I do not know who the other couple is, but I think they may be one of my grandfather's brothers and his wife.  

I was curious about the car.  There was no identifying information on it, except for the license plate with a date of 1914. I am fortunate to volunteer at Greenfield Village and we have an old car festival.  So I took my picture to the section where the 1910 to 1920 cars were displayed and asked if anyone could identify the car.  Several

gentlemen were very interested and had a pretty intense discussion about what it was and why.  The consensus was that the car was a REO. 

I had no idea what a REO was but with a little research, this is what I learned.  In 1904 Ransom Olds started the REO MotorCompany,  which by 1907 was one of the top four car companies in the United States. The company manufactured cars in Flint, Michigan until 1936 when the depression affect the company so much that it ceased to operate. 

I would love to talk to my grandfather about the
car.  Why he  purchased it?  What it was like to drive?  Where they went?

Sunday, October 20, 2019

#201 Adventurer--Lord Admiral Cochrane

Lord Cochrane

My distant cousin, Admiral Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald (14 December 1775 – 31 October 1860), was an officer of the Royal Navy.  By all accounts he was adventurous and very successful.  So successful in fact that during the Napoleonic Wars that Napoleon called him Le Loup des Mers ('The Sea Wolf').

The Speedy and El Gamo
Lord Cochrane joined the British Navy at the age of 17.  He served under his uncle, Admiral Alexander Cochrane.  He was given command of his own ship, the Speedy.  Always smart, when a Spanish war ship tried to capture him, he flew the Danish flag, and turned back a boarding group by stating that the ship had many cases of the plague on board.  In addition, when followed by an enemy frigate, that night he put a barrel in the water with a candle on it.  The enemy followed the barrel and Cochrane and his ship escaped.  Lord Cochrane was well know for his capture of the Spanish frigate El Gamo in 1801. El Gamo was a large ship with 32 guns and a crew of 319.  In contrast the Speedy had 14 guns and 54 seamen.  Flying an American flag, Cochrane brought the Speedy so near to El Gamo that her guns could not fire.  While the Spanish tried to board the Speedy, Cochrane turned away and fired his guns at the Speedy.  Later Cochrane boarded and captured El Gamo even though he was outnumbered 5 to 1.

Cochrane did well with the Speedy.  He captured, burned or pushed ashore 53 ships before Admiral Charles-Alexandre Linois captured him.

Lord Cochrane served as a model for several books.  C.S. Forester used him as a model for Horatio Hornblower .  He also served as the model for Jack Aubrey in thenovels by Patrick O'Brian. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

#200--Context Matters.

When I started to do genealogy, I was very content to build my family tree--to put all those ancestors with their vital records into it.  Pretty soon though, I became much more interested in who they were and what they did. 

While the vital records are interesting, they really do not paint a picture of who these people were or what their daily life was like.  I have found several sources that have been helpful in that regard. 

One is newspapers.  Chronicling American from the Library of Congress has newspapers from cities all over the United States.  I was delighted to discover that The Butler Missouri Newspaper, The Butler Weekly Times and the Bates County Record were on line.  While you can browse a particular issue, you can also do a name search for all the issues.  Since Butler is a small town, there is a lot of information about its residents and their activities.  When I searched John W. Hannah and the Palace Hotel which he built, I got over 100 hits.  One of my favorites is the description of John and Jennie (Willey) Anniversary Party. 

Fulton Postcards has newspapers from all over New York State.  Since I have many family members who lived in that state, for me it is a great site.  Using it I was able to find an ad for the Hannah-Ross Shoe company in Auburn, New York, a company that I did not know my grandfather was involved in.  I have also been able to read about my grandmother and grandfather’s wedding, various parties, funerals, etc. 

Another source for finding out what life was life for my ancestors is books covering the towns or counties where they lived.  I have used those books from a variety of places.  Most useful have been the town records of Dedham, Massachusetts.  The records go back to the early 1600.  In those records I found that Edward Richards who settled in Dedham in about 1632 was given more land because there was a defect in his
current property.  However, I have also used the History of Edgar County, Illinois and the History of Brown County Ohio.  Both of these books are available on Google Books. 

I have also used books that focus on life at a particular time in our history, e.g., Frontier Living by Edwin Tunis for my Hannahs and Mears who lived in Brown County, Ohio and Edgar County, Illinois in the 1800’s. Since my ancestors moved from place to place Walking with Your  Ancestors by Melinda Kashuba was particularly useful.    While these books do not specifically deal with my ancestors, they do describe what their lives might have been like. 

When I was a little girl, I loved to hear stories from my mother and grandparents about what their lives were like when they were my age.  So I really would like to talk to my relatives and have them described what their lives were like. 

Monday, October 7, 2019

#199 Harvest time with Sarah Ann Hannah

The theme for this week is harvest.  I have many relatives who were farmers; the vast majority of them were men; however, a several were women.  Previously, I blogged about Jane Mears Calvin, my 3 great aunt who also ran a farm.  So my blog this week focuses on Sarah Ann Hannah Mitchell , who ran the family farm after her husband, Joseph, died. Sarah is my great great aunt. 

Sarah Ann Hannah was born on February 17, 1823, in Brown or Clermont County, Ohio,.  Her parents were John M. and Charity (Mears) Hannah. She married Joseph Mitchell and they had five children together. Joseph died in 1857.  Many years later she  married Samuel McCampbell on October 24, 1892,. She died on February 24, 1906, at the age of 83.

The Illinois Public Domain Land Tract Sales indicate that Joseph Mitchell did not buy any land of the from the federal government.  However, he did buy land from some of his relatives, e.g. John M. Hannah, John Wesley Hannah, etc.  The land was mostly in Ross Township in Edgar County and where he and his family lived and farmed. 

The 1860 Agricultural Census Schedule lists Sarah Mitchell as the owner of a farm.  The farm consisted of 80 improved acres and 32 unimproved with a value of $2000.  $100 was the value of the machinery and farm implements. Sarah had 5 horses, 3 milch cows, 1 other cattle, 20 sheep and 12 swine.  The livestock was valued at $570.  The farm produced 1500 bushels of Indian corn and 86 pounds of wool. The farm produced 100 pounds of butter.  The animals that were slaughtered during the year were worth $30. When I looked at the other farms which were listed, Jane’s farm was pretty typical, not the largest, not the smallest, just kind of in the middle. 

I would love to talk to Sarah  and find out how she ran the farm.  Did her children do most of the work?  Did she hire people to help her? How did she learn to manage the farm?  Did she make changes to the farm as time when on?  Her sister-in-law Sarah Ann Hannah Mitchell also ran the family farm after her husband died in 1857 (See blog on the right side of this page).  I am wondering since Jane had been running her farm for some time, she provided any advice to Sarah.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

#198--Touring Auburn, New York

My great aunt, Anne Hannah, married Charles Ross and moved from Butler, Missouri to Auburn, New York.  When her father, John Wesley Hannah (1839-1899) died, her brother William and her four sisters, also moved to Auburn.  William married Gertrude Cochrane, who came to Auburn to visit her cousin, Lucy Pingree.   My father and his sister were both born in Auburn.  They lived at 187 Genessee Street with William sister, Anne Hannah and her husband, Charles Ross.

Auburn is in upstate New York, in the Finger Lake Region, more specifically on north end of Owasco Lake.  I have never been to Auburn, but it occurred to me that I could use Google Earth, 
Goggle Maps, and Google Images to learn about Auburn and see what it looked like. 

I started by going to Google Maps.  I put Auburn, New York in the search box and when the map came up, I started at Genesee Street and South Street, and drove down South Street.  I was impressed that South street was a mix of older buildings and new ones.

                                                                              Right out of town was the Auburn
Auburn Correctional System
Correctional System, a very large prison, which was established in 1816. The Hannahs lived on South Street, at 136, very near the prison.  The fact that it was near the prison and prisoners did escape made my grandmother very nervous as her husband often traveled so they moved to back to Genesee Street.

I tried to find a picture of that house, but as luck would have it, the house was behind one very big tree, but I did find a postcard of the street in the
early 1900’s.  As I continued down Genessee Street, I came upon The Cayuga Museum of History and Art and Case Research Lab Historic Site.

Head Stone of Anne Hannah Ross

Close by I found Fort Hills Cemetery, where my Aunt Anne Hannah and her husband Charles Ross are buried.  I took a quick look at Find a Grave and was able to locate her headstones.

Harriet Tubman House
When I got to the corner of Genesee and South Street, I turned onto South.  A little way down I drove by Harriet Tubman’s House, the former
slave turned underground railroad conductor.

As I drove on , I found the home of William Seward, a  New York State Senator, Governor of New York, a U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State for President Lincoln.
Seward Home


 I also saw The Cayuga Museum of History and Art and Case Research Lab Historic Site and the Schweinfurth Art Center.
St. Peter's Episcopal Church 

In downtown Auburn, I saw St. Peter's Episcopal Church, where I think my father may have been baptized.

I also saw the Old Post Office and Courthouse.

I was curious to see what was outside of Auburn so I took South Street out into the country.  Not surprisingly, it is very rural with plenty of farm land and vineyards.